I am presently conducting a survey evaluating airline mergers and their outcome with eventual shortcomings in the course of a Master's Thesis. Should you have any previous experience with airline mergers, either as a third party, like a consultant or analyst, or even as an employee, your participation in this anonymous 5-minute-survey is highly welcome.
I am a retired Lead Storekeeper with 37 years at line and base overhaul & maintenance. I have come to the conclusion that this merger is not necessarily a good or bad move, but a historical phenomenon resulting from a diminishing pool of resources. Social considerations have taken a back seat to the urgency felt by control structures to "move with the times" and get theirs before it's" too late". Unfortunately, this manic attitude hurts many people; passengers, employees, vendors, societies as a group etc.
We seem to have gone, and continue to go in my opinion, from extreme to insufficient, from panic to indifference. I've read this UAL merger described in glowing terms by the proponents, when so many of these types of restructurings have masked what seemed to many as being driven by hidden agendas that served no one else.
When we bought the rump of PAA, I recall everyone being elated at the prospect of growth and benefits for all; we all know what has really happened. Another casualty was the Patterson model of hands-on, real communication with actual employees actually doing the work of running the airline. Innovation has gone, to be replaced by imitation and huge reductions in every area, especially that of pleasing the customer.
Remember the " Summer from Hell" that the flight crews ran in protest to what they felt were high-handed tactics by management? Deliberately causing delays, wasting fuel, writing up unecessary and inappropriate log items etc. ? Such aberrations can easily occur in a bitter employee relationship environment.
Hats off to all air workers who don't let these debates affect their proud tradition of safety and service to the public, in spite of all the ruinous meddling by business types, who only seem to have tunnel vision when it comes to common sense choices. More from less is a laudable goal to be sure, but when it results in an industry that is nearly universally reviled in spite of its many accomplishments and spectacular growth perhaps the opposite might be considered.
Loyal Continental customers react in horror at the idea they'll have to conduct transactions with employees from UAL who have been beat upon so long and often that they just go through the motions; United employees fear they'll be goose-stepped into servitude instead of being convinced to do their work well by loyalty,convincing argument, and a (Oh Horror!) a living wage.
Then, as I stated, there's the resource challenge, and the environmental data that increasingly indicates that we may be doing fatal harm to the atmosphere. Solutions? Lighter than air using easily harvestable wind and solar power could fly the ordinary traveler safely, albeit a bit slower with great comfort and at a resource-consumption level miniscule compared to the behemoths now using horribly expensive fuel. In this environment, when all the focus seems to be on the short-term? Not a snowball's chance in H**l.
We wil learn by experience no doubt, we always have-but will we have time to apply what is learned before these economic adventures become too heavy to fly ? We can't merge, build, and consume ourselves out of these challenges.